Actor and entertainer John Barrowman tells the story of Irving Berlin's groundbreaking army show, This Is The Army, that came to bomb-ravaged London in 1943 before setting out on a world tour that raised military morale from Glasgow to Guam.
The show's choreographer, Robert Sydney, and Irving Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellin Barrett, recall how the show was put together and the effect it had in places as far afield as Washington DC and Tehran, via Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, London and the fiercest area of fighting in the south of Italy shortly after the British and American landings there. Also remembering the show are members of the audience in Birmingham, Glasgow and London, where a young airman by the name of Denis Norden was spellbound by the show at The Palladium.
The programme also features archive recordings made especially for the BBC in the winter of 1943, including a performance from Berlin himself.
Archive on 4: This Is the Army, Mr Jones
BBC Radio 4 FM, 7 November 2009 20.00
1 hour, 1 minute
John Barrowman tells the story of This Is the Army, Irving Berlin's ground-breaking show that came to a Blitz-ravaged London in 1943 before setting out on a world tour that raised military morale and much-needed funds. The show's choreographer and Berlin's daughter recall how it was put together and the effect it had in places as far afield as Washington DC and Tehran.
Friday Night Is Music Night presents Top That! a celebration of the musical genius, Irving Berlin. Anton Du Beke hosts this glittering event, recorded at the Watford Colosseum and starring Lee Mead, Mary Carewe, Matthew Ford, Georgina Jackson and the sixty piece BBC Concert Orchestra. Richard Balcombe conducts the orchestra and singers as they perform the best of Berlin's music including classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger numbers Top Hat, Cheek to Cheek, Change Partners, Isn't This A Lovely Day and Let's Face The Music and Dance. Plus highlights from Berlin's many musical and film scores such as Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam and White Christmas. Join us as Friday Night Is Music Night proves that Irving Berlin was right - 'There's No Business Like Show Business'!